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Dist::Milla - Distribution builder, Opinionated but Unobtrusive


  > milla new Dist-Name
  > cd Dist-Name

  > milla build
  > milla release


Milla is a Dist::Zilla profile. It is a collection of Dist::Zilla plugin bundle, minting profile and a command line wrapper. It is designed around the "Convention over Configuration" philosophy (Opinionated), and by default doesn't rewrite module files nor requires you to change your workflow at all (Unobtrusive).

Experienced CPAN authors who know how to write CPAN distributions can keep writing the code like before, but can remove lots of cruft, then replace Module::Install and ShipIt with Dist::Zilla and Milla profile for authoring, while you don't need to add anything other than a shiny new cpanfile (optional), and a simple dist.ini saying:



Milla is opinionated. Milla has a slightly bold assumption and convention like the followings, which are almost compatible to the sister project Minilla.

Your module is Pure Perl, and files are stored in lib
Your executable file is in script directory, if any
Your dist sharedirs must be in share directory, if any
Your module is maintained with Git and git ls-files matches with what you will release
Your module has a static list of prerequisites that can be described in cpanfile
Your module has a Changes file

If you have a module that doesn't work with these conventions, no worries. Because Milla is just a Dist::Zilla profile, you can just upgrade to Dist::Zilla and enable/disable plugins that match with what you need.


  # First time only
  > cpanm Dist::Milla
  > milla setup

  # Make a new distribution
  > milla new Dist-Name
  > cd Dist-Name

  # git is already initialized and files are added for you
  > git commit -m "initial commit"

  # Hack your code!
  > $EDITOR lib/Dist/ t/dist-name.t cpanfile

  # (Optional; First time only) Make your build: This will get some boilerplate for git
  > milla build
  > git add Build.PL META.json && git commit -m "git stuff"

  # Done? Test and release it!
  > $EDITOR Changes
  > milla build
  > milla release

It's that easy.

You already have distributions with Module::Install, Module::Build or ShipIt? Migrating is also trivial. See "MIGRATING" in Dist::Milla::Tutorial for more details.


WHY Dist::Zilla

A lot of you might have heard of Dist::Zilla (dzil). If you already use it and love it, then you can stop reading this, or even using this module at all.

If you heard of dzil and think it's overkill or doesn't work for your module, this is why Milla exists.

If you have tried dzil ages ago and thought it was slow, or couldn't find how to configure it to do what you want it to do, Milla will be just for you.

First, let me tell you what's the reason to like Dist::Zilla.

Dist::Zilla doesn't do the job of installing of your module. So you can focus on the authoring side of things with dzil, while letting MakeMaker or Module::Build(::Tiny) to do the installation side of things. I like this design. David Golden also has written an excellent blog post explaining more details about what this means.

That said, I myself have avoided switching to Dist::Zilla for a long time. I actually tried a couple of times, but ended up giving up switching to it. You can google for "Hate Dist::Zilla" and will be able to find rants by similarly frustrated developers.

In my observation, typical problems/dislikes around Dist::Zilla can be categorized into one of the following thoughts.

Dist::Zilla is slow
Dist::Zilla has too many dependencies
Dist::Zilla is obtrusive
Dist::Zilla makes contributing difficult
Dist::Zilla isn't just worth it

Let's see how we can address them by using Milla, one at a time.

Dist::Zilla is slow

Moose, the object system Dist::Zilla uses under the hood, has been improved a lot for the past few years, and your development machine has got a much better CPU and SSD as well. For me personally, with all of Milla plugins loaded, milla nop takes roughly 1.5 second, which I would say is acceptable since I only need to run it at a distribution creation time and release time. More on that later.

Dist::Zilla has too many dependencies

This is true, and Milla doesn't solve that problem, because it adds more dependencies on top of Dist::Zilla.

For a quickstart with Milla-like distribution building environment without installing "half of CPAN", see the sister project Minilla.

Dist::Zilla is obtrusive

This was my main motivation for not switching to Dist::Zilla - the thought that using Dist::Zilla would require me to change my workflow.

The truth is, Dist::Zilla doesn't require you to change your workflow by itself. But a lot of popular plugins and workflow suggests doing so, by using stuff like PodWeaver, which requires you to switch to Dist::Zilla for everything and then generate the boilerplate, or munge your modules from there.

I don't care about the real boilerplate such as MANIFEST, META.json or LICENSE auto-generated, but don't personally like the idea of generating documentation or munging code.

I want to edit and maintain all the code and docs myself, and let the authoring tool figure out metadata from there, not the other way round.

With Milla, you don't need to change your workflow, and it won't rewrite your .pm files at all. Like Module::Install's all_from, most of the metadata is figured out from your module and git, automatically.

Dist::Zilla makes contributing difficult

This is true for most Dist::Zilla based distributions.

Milla copies the plain META.json and Build.PL into the git repository you automatically bump on every release. And there won't be any code munging process required for the release (except bumping $VERSION automatically).

This means that the git repository can be installed as a standard CPAN distribution even without Dist::Zilla installed, and collaborators can just hack your modules, run the tests with prove -l t and send a pull request just like a normal module without using dzil at all.

It's just a releaser who has to install and use Milla.

Dist::Zilla isn't just worth it

Dist::Zilla has a lot of plugins to search from, and it's so easy for you to spend a few days until you settle with the configuration you need. That is exactly why Milla exists.

If you have tried Dist::Zilla before, you might have shared the same experience with me, where the default Basic profile doesn't do much. And when you started wondering or asking what other authors are doing, you would be overwhelmed by the amount of plugins and complexity introduced by the clever workflow.

Milla provides a sensible set of defaults that will work for 90% of people, and you don't need to waste time configuring your PluginBundle or searching for the plugin you need.

WHY NOT Module::Install

I loved Module::Install. I love how it automatically figures out what I want to do with a single all_from line. I liked the cleverness of its bundling itself into inc. But I know many collaborators hated it because you have no idea what plugins have to be installed when you use some funky plugins, and your users are puzzled when they try to install from the git repository because it says Can't locate inc/Module/ This problem can be fixed, but I was not interested in doing so.


So you basically wrote a simple PluginBundle and some wrapper, and give that a name?

Yes. That's the whole point. Think Dist::Zilla as a framework (because it is!) and Milla is a (thin) application built on top of that.

That's so egoistic for you! Why not just Dist::Zilla::PluginBundle::Author::MIYAGAWA?

Part of the reason might be my egoism. But think about it - if I switched to Dist::Zilla and recommend everyone to use, I have to say, "Hey, the way I use dzil is kind of cool. You can get that by using my @MIYAGAWA bundle".

Wouldn't that be more egoistic than giving it a different name?

I wrote my own PSGI implementation, and didn't give it a name PSGI::MIYAGAWA - it's called Plack. I wrote a kick-ass, lightweight CPAN installer, and didn't give it a name CPAN::Installer::MIYAGAWA - it's called cpanm.

Because I think this can be recommended for many people, and want to make it better by incorporating contributions, I gave it a different name other than my own personal name bundle.

Dist::Zilla feels overkill. If you don't munge code/docs, what's the point?

I agree that it is still overkill. But as of this writing, there's no software other than Dist::Zilla that can correctly create a CPAN style distribution other than ExtUtils::MakeMaker and Module::Build, and I think they're wrong tools for authoring distributions.

Check out Minilla if you think Dist::Zilla is overkill and want a lightweight replacement that achieves the same goal but does less.


As stated above, I've been loving the cleverness of Module::Install (MI), but felt its limitation. Milla is an attempt to put Module::Install's smartness into Dist::Zilla (without the inc mess).

M::I + Zilla = Milla.

Milla should also remind you of Milla Jovovich, but I couldn't make up any correlation about it, besides Resident Evil is such a great videogame and movie.


Tatsuhiko Miyagawa <>


Ricardo SIGNES wrote Dist::Zilla.

David Golden wrote Dist::Zilla::PluginBundle::DAGOLDEN, which I cargo culted a lot of configuration from, for Milla bundle.

Tokuhiro Matsuno has beaten me to writing Minilla, which resulted in me going the Dist::Zilla plugin route. Minilla is a sister project, and we try to make them compatible to each other and make it as trivial as possible to switch from/to each other.


Copyright 2013- Tatsuhiko Miyagawa


This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.


Dist::Zilla, Minilla